How to start your first year off right: Advice from those who’ve been there

Mario Sanchez Castillo

Looking back at their years at Lafayette, the current juniors and seniors provided insights on things that they wish they would have known before becoming a Leopard.

Many students emphasized the importance of self-care. Pascual Ventura ’19 expressed how one should prioritize their mental health.

“Mental health is something that you should take care of even when you are not in a bad mental space, it’s important to have those moments when you are checking yourself.”

To Ventura, successful time management is a huge part in helping prevent being over-stressed due to procrastination. “You’d think you would be super busy, but end up having lots of at time at hand, [but your] ‘free time’ has to be dedicated to classes.”

“Free time outside of classes doesn’t necessarily mean do as you will, but rather do as you should,” he added.

Ayat Husseini ’20 said that there is a workaholic culture at the college. “Do what you are comfortable with…and not be forced into the workaholic culture here and have no time for yourself.”

To Elias Mueller’19, forming healthy life habits is crucial to one’s growth during their time at college. “The habits you form first-year do carry on,” Mueller said. “I thought the classes were easy the first year and didn’t really take good notes, I am a senior now, and I still take really bad notes.”

Tabassum Alam ’19 wants to tell the first-year students that although friendship is important in college, “you don’t have to force your ways to make friends…it’s ok for you to be alone [at first] and not fight it. Having a handful of real friends is much better than having a lot of fake ones.”

Jennifer Wellnitz ’19 advised for students to take their common core classes early on and not wait till the last semester.

Ventura believes that “there is a certain stigma around majors that provide the most money, but we don’t realize that they come with a certain trade-out… Sometimes It’s not easy to find a job right away after picking the major you really love.”

He added that he entered the college as an engineer and stayed till the spring semester of his sophomore year before pursuing economics because he “was dedicated so much to engineering” and “was afraid to try something new…especially having it not be exactly as promising as engineering.”

When Allan Dalapicola ’19 entered his first year at the college, he didn’t take the professors who reached out to him seriously and would not give them a chance.

“I didn’t think it mattered,” he said.

Dalapicola also expressed the importance of staying true to one’s self. “Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Even if you don’t know who that is.”

“Try as much as you can to become fearless,” he added. “Speak up when you know the answer to something, otherwise, you might regret not saying what you were thinking.”